Oh my gosh, Becca, you’re already posting again?
Why yes tumblr community, I am. It’s rainy outside and I have a million more things to share still so… yeah here we go.
On Friday, Martin’s sister (Thea) and his mom (Lise) flew in to see us! I haven’t seen either of them since we left Bronnoysund in January. In Norway, it’s also a LOT faster and probably cheaper to fly than to drive around the country. The roads are much more treacherous and the speed limit rarely goes above 45 mph. I have never seen anything above 90 km/hr.
Once we all got together, Martin made us all biscuits and gravy. Yes! American breakfast! I think they found the food to be okay, but they were both shocked to find out that we eat that for breakfast. Like… in the morning. This is a fair point: it’s extremely heavy food for first thing in the morning.
Afterwards we all went to the spa which was much nicer than the pool. You remember the pool stories. But THIS TIME I knew what was going on (kind of) so it wasn’t as bad. The spa was a little expensive, but there were a lot of different rooms you could go into. There was a Jacuzzi, a normal sauna, a mint type sauna thing, a salt room, an infrared room, scented showers, an ice shower, and an outdoor hot tub. Personally, I enjoyed the outdoor hot tub the most. Surprised? Me too. It’s freaking cold, I was already wet from the Jacuzzi, the wind is blowing, and you can literally see the hot tub steaming because of how cold the air is compared to the water. However, it was amazing to be in this hot water talking to everyone and being able to see mountains in the background. It seemed so normal to everyone else, but that was an awesome sight for me.
After that we got Chinese food (which was my idea as a JOKE but Thea actually liked the idea so that happened). I was actually surprised at how similar it is to home. I know, Chinese food is Chinese food, but I figured it would be more catered to Norwegian taste. The only difference was: 1. No crabrangoon. 2. Dessert came with coffee. Norwegians really like coffee, especially with dessert (whaaaat?) so I wasn’t too surprised by this. Either way, we had a nice time. That night we watched Bridesmaids since Lise and Thea haven’t seen it, and then we went to bed.
Saturday was a long day as well. We split up so Martin didn’t have to be surrounded by girls and the three of us went to the mall together. This was the first time I had ever been alone with his family, so this was a big deal. Thea doesn’t particularly like speaking English for some ungodly reason. I mean, her English is just fine but she just never really talks to me. This shopping trip was the most she ever spoke to me, and it really meant a great deal that by the end of this trip, I think she got used to it. I know if we could figure out this language thing, we could probably be really close.
Anyways, back to stories and not just feelings.
I was actually in need of two things on this trip: face wash and jeans. I ran out of face wash literally the day before. I mean I cut open my bottle of face wash to get the last of it out. Martin said Thea would know which is best in Norway (spoiler: Norway has different brands than America so good luck finding anything you use at home here), so I went with what she suggested. I also wanted to buy jeans because Martin isn’t very good at helping me with clothes (he does that man thing “you look good in all of them”… you know). Thea found a pair, and I went to try them on. Europeans wear VERY tight jeans. Normal jeans here are skinny jeans in America. I now completely understand why skinny jeans are impossible. Lise offered to pay for both the face wash and the jeans. I am honestly still so shocked at how nice she has been to me. I didn’t even really know what to say at first, and I probably would have insisted on paying myself anyways, but let’s face it—I am pretty broke here.
A lot more happened on the shopping trip, but it’s mostly just embarrassing stories so I’ll be leaving those out.
After all the shopping and whatnot, Martin and Thea gave Lise her Mother’s Day gift. Mother’s Day is in February in Norway, by the way. I suggested that they get her a locket with a picture of them, and she loved it! I figured they couldn’t go wrong with a photo of them.
Martin made us all a LOT of sushi. This is one of the many reasons why dating a chef is awesome. He makes rolls just the way I like them and I can actually trust the fish. As always, it was amazing. We tried to watch James Bond, but that didn’t really happen. Sorry Martin.
Thea went out with some of her friends that live here and the rest of us went to bed. I for one was exhausted.
And then Sunday everyone went home. We took Lise to the airport fairly early and had a few hours with just the three of us. We showed Thea “New Girl” since we’ve been having marathons of the show. Martin said that Jess is a lot like Thea and she basically died when she realized how true that was… Jess sings randomly and so does Thea, but that’s all I really noticed.
After we dropped her off at the airport Martin and I returned to a quiet and messy home. I will take 90% of the responsibility for that mess. We cleaned up a bit and spent the night in like we do most nights.
So yeah, we had a pretty great weekend. It’s always nice to see Martin’s family—they are the sweetest people ever (when they talk to you). I am looking forward to seeing them again in April for Easter and in May for their Constitution Day.
I don’t have a LOT of pictures from this weekend, but I do have a few.
And as always, ha det bra!
All of us at the Chinese restaurant
Half of the sushi…
I promised some people I would post this… This is my FIRST DAY skiing so don’t judge too hard. Remember, I didn’t really hit the slopes at all the first day because I was so scared! I would post a video from the last day, but we were going pretty fast!
Thank you Eric for recording, even if you zoomed in awkwardly at the end.
Okay so story time about the ski trip. We left Wednesday morning and returned Sunday, so that was a lot of time for adventures.
I had to wake up REALLY early (like 6) to finish packing and get to school. It was really cold outside and I swear I stood and waited for the bus for like… 30 minutes. It was one of those “hurry up and wait” games. If you are in PRIDE band, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Afterwards, the group of us going to Sweden split into two: Norwegians and Internationals. Obviously, I was on the international bus so I did not get drunk on the way to Sweden.
The bus ride wasn’t too out of the ordinary except that I got to experience driving into a different country. Honestly, I think we make a bigger deal out of driving into a different state. There was a street sign off the highway that said: SVERIGE. That’s it. No “Welcome to Sweden!”, no security guards, nothing. Just “Sweden”. Okay.
We arrived at our “cabin” around 5 PM. I say “cabin” because what it really was was a kitchen/living room with 3 public bathrooms, 4 showers, and a billion beds. I mean I was completely prepared for no electricity (so wifi was nice) but I was not prepared for that dinky bed! Oh well, we all managed and ended up bonding a lot more.
Since it was so late there was no point in skiing. It costs extra to ski at night, and we would have to pay for an entire day’s rental even though it closed in like 2 hours. Everyone instead unpacked and went to the store. We decided to chip in and eat dinner together, which involved finding the cheapest stuff possible for making burgers. I mean that. We didn’t buy buns… we bought Polar Bread. It has holes and is like the pizza crust you get in a lunchable. We all bought some beer for the weekend and had a mostly calm night.
I woke up early on Thursday for some ungodly reason. I went into the kitchen and saw it was a mess with beer cans everywhere and food and whatnot, so I picked up the trash and did the dishes. Emma woke up next, and we had coffee and talked for a bit. I bought a meal plan for the trip so I wouldn’t have to worry about food, so I went to the diner to eat breakfast before meeting up with everyone else.
Emma and I went up to the ski resort and rented everything. I had no idea how much crap you need for skiing! I mean, we had to get boots in European sizes (crap) and ski blades based on our European height (crap again) and then some stick pole things and goggles and a helmet (for me at least). And that stuff was heavy. Emma taught me how to put the skis on and began to teach me the basics. For those of you who don’t know, I have never even seen a ski, so this was terrifying. We went over to the bunny slopes where I spent most of my time. I tried to go up to the top, but even getting off the lift is difficult. It doesn’t help that the little kids are so good, but in my defense, my parents never took me skiing and skied with me down the mountains while holding onto me. I’m sure if I had experienced this at a young age I would be amazing at it now.
Anyways, it was horrible. I had no idea how to go forward or stop or anything. After finally making it to the bottom, I decided to stay away from the actual slope for the day and try to master the literal basics. This did indeed take all day, and to be honest I still don’t have it down! We went back home and I took a nap before dinner. I went to the diner again, and then had some beers with everyone that night.
I woke up so sore on Friday. I mean this really sucked. But I paid for 3 days and I was only going to be in Sweden once so I was determined to make it work. I ate breakfast again and got ready to leave. I had to carry my skis with me to the resort this time, which took forever because they are really heavy!! I was basically out of breath when I got there just because of that. I spent the day on the bunny slopes again because I didn’t feel safe enough to do anything else.
I think at the end of Friday I dared to try to go down the slopes a few times, but it wasn’t very successful. I was so worried about hurting a child that anytime I got near one I fell over on purpose because I wasn’t confident in my ability to stop. I know I know, I should have had faith in myself, but if it was your second day touching a ski I guarantee you would have felt the same way. Unless you’re Gokan.
Gokan is from Turkey and he was also new at skiing. He picked it up very quickly (much faster than me) but he was also a lot more dangerous. If I got near someone, I fell over to avoid hurting them. If he got near someone, everyone feared for their life. I will admit though, it was entertaining!
For some reason, I got really woozy on Friday, so Erik helped me carry my stuff back and I took a longer nap. I woke up in time for dinner and felt a little better with food in me. This was also a pretty cool moment for me. A few Norwegians asked if they could sit next to me and they asked a lot about America. Martin, I know you read this, and I know you’re Norwegian and you talk to me but you don’t count, okay?
Anyways, this started as like two people sitting next to me but turned into like 10. They were definitely the friendliest Norwegians I have met thus far, so this was really nice. They spoke to me in English and translated a lot if they spoke in Norwegian at all. I can’t hold a conversation in Norwegian (I’m not a genius, sorry) but I can pick out a few words here and there and can sometimes hold a conversation by replying in English. This wasn’t too bad. They invited me to the Norwegian cabin that night, so I headed over there about 11 or so.
I was surprised to see that they party more or less like we do at home. I know that sounds silly, but with our Norwegian stereotype I expected to see a lot more drinking. They were playing “Fuck the Dealer” and I was happy to just watch. I ended up talking to a bunch of people and got free beer in there somewhere… After an hour I decided to return to my own home and enjoy some English drinking games which was nice.
Probably one of the most eventful days of my life.
I was determined to get this skiing thing down at least a little. I hadn’t even made it down the bunny slope without falling, which is pathetic. Some Russian guys told us that there’s a long, slow hill at the resort, and that maybe it would be a good idea to try that. I decided this would be a good chance to take because as they say “It is crazy to do the same thing over and over and expect different results”. Plus, the incline was less than the bunny hill and there would be less kids to hit.
However, this meant I had to take the BIG ski lift. It was a T bar which still confuses me. They actually slowed down the t bar just so I could get on. It took forever to get to the top of the mountain, and it was windy and cold as hell. I was so afraid I was going to fall just because of that strong wind, my god.
By the time we all got up there, we had a group of like 10. Half of us were new to skiing so that meant we fell down a lot, which is why it took us an hour to do what takes a Norwegian 15 minutes. Since there weren’t a lot of people around, I wasn’t as afraid of hurting people as I was before. I fell once that entire hour because I lost control. I think I fell like…. 3 more times because I was lost or confused about where to go and I didn’t want to hit trees.
Everyone says that’s the slowest path you can take, but it was definitely the coolest thing ever. I guarantee you that if I ever get skiing down, I will still only like that hill. It was still too fast for me, but at least it was long and it was beautiful. I have still never been so scared in my life, but at least I can say I made it to the top of the mountain AND back down in one piece.
After that I was exhausted, so I went back to take a shower before dinner. I ran into the Norwegians again, and was told there’d be another party. I already knew this, but it was nice to converse anyways. I went to the store to buy alcohol to take home (since it’s like half price in Sweden and they have more American stuff) and hung out with the rest of the internationals.
Okay so Saturday night was rough. Being honest here.
We all went over to the Norwegian cabin because someone complained that we were too loud in our cabin and that they had a funeral in the morning. I would normally be very respectful about this, but who stays in a low budget ski resort cabin that is obviously for college-age students when they have a funeral? I’m just saying that a funeral kind of constitutes the right to at least a real hotel for the night.
Anyways, we went to the Norwegian cabin. It was a little awkward at first- we ended up pretty segregated because the Norwegians were intimidated to speak English to so many of us (or so I am told) and none of us speak Norwegian (yet). I decided to go outside where a few were smoking so I could set my beer in the snow (because that’s what they use as coolers…. The snow) and found a few friends I had met earlier in the week.
I was invited to go to the sauna, but I said I’d probably join later when all of the others did. One of the guys literally picked me up and took me there, so I guess I was going to the sauna. I already knew saunas worked differently in Norway (after the pool incident), so I knew to speak up and say that I wasn’t aware of what to do.
Basically, everyone strips to their bra and underwear (or for men boxers) and then you sit in a sauna and drink beer. Okay, I can do that.
But then, they get crazy and decide that when it feels too hot, they are going to run outside.
In the snow.
I literally mean in the snow.
I mean like run outside and then jump into a pile of snow.
Oh yeah and they do that in Norwegian so I just had to catch on.
Oh and also some of the snow is hard, so it hurts to jump in it.
So that happened.
Waking up hurt pretty bad Sunday. I stayed up late, I probably had a bit of a hangover, and I was definitely not looking forward to riding a bus for like 6 hours. I was definitely not the only one though- basically everyone felt the same way, so the bus ride back was pretty quiet.
So yeah, that’s basically my ski trip in a nutshell! I am so sorry it took so long to post this, but I didn’t take a lot of pictures with my own camera and I spent some time gathering pictures from others.
Here they are:
Our cabin: Beaver.
This is also basically all the snow I’ve seen.
Yup! That’s it.
These are the slopes!
Emma and I geared up
A rare sight… me without makeup. This one is more for you, Dad
I promise I don’t take a lot of selfies, I’m just trying to keep these in order…
A bunch of us! Diego, Me, Emma, Hirono, and Arissa. Don’t mind my awkwardness, this isn’t even the worst picture.
The view from the top.
The most confusing thing in the world: the t bar.
Different lifts up the mountain
I look like a bundled up child. But I AM at the top.
Most of us that went to the top together
The rest of these are pictures from the bus.
That’s a frozen lake
And that’s all from Sweden! Ha det bra!
I would like to end this post by thanking everyone who put up with me during this trip and helped me. I am not one to suggest adventures, and I usually need a pretty big push to do anything new. I am forever in the debt of each of you that took time out of your own vacation to teach me how to ski and make me keep going, even when I wanted to give up.
Yes, yes, I haven’t blogged since I got back… but I basically
died this week. After all of my adventures in Sweden, I came home Sunday night with a horrible headache and runny nose. I thought it was maybe just exhaustion and a little bit of a hangover, but it got worse as the week progressed. Only to exacerbate my problem, I had my first Norwegian exam this Friday too. I haven’t compiled all of the photos I want to post from the ski trip, so today I’m just going to focus on the exam I took.
Let me start by finishing the tale of my horrible Bangladesh teacher that teaches Norwegian society.
At the beginning of the semester, he messed up what DAY class was (TWTH or TThF) and what TIME class was (12.15 or 1.15). Once we barely got that settled, he also failed to mention on his syllabus that we needed two textbooks AND a printed book full of articles. Nevermind that, the articles weren’t even available at the bookstore until a week into the course (it’s only three weeks). Oh yeah, and the bookstore didn’t have the Sociology (SOC) textbook he wanted.
So I check with the bookstore every day and eventually have my number put in on the call list for the day this SOC book comes in. They tell our teacher that they do have the SOC book, but it’s an older edition than the one he wants. They also tell us that the reason his book isn’t in is because he didn’t order it (surprise surprise), and had just ordered it last week. English books have to be imported, so they take longer.
As the course progresses, we each fall further behind without this second book to read since the bookstore doesn’t have it, the library doesn’t have it, and the city library also doesn’t have it. He decides to improvise by giving us each a copy of the first two chapters and saying “just read the other book”. I take this to mean read the other book in the syllabus, which is a Norway book. NOPE. What he MEANT was “go buy the older edition from the library for $120, read the same chapters you were supposed to in the new edition, and also read these two chapters from the new edition”. Ugh okay. So I email him about this and the fact that this book is EXPENSIVE! I wanted to check with him that we would use this edition, then, instead during the second course (taught in May). He says yes, we will be doing that. So if we buy the older edition of the SOC book, we don’t have to buy the new one ever. Okay.
SO I head to the bookstore feeling pretty defeated, and go to buy the older edition since our test is in a WEEK. Right as I get there, the new edition comes in! Great luck. I go ahead and buy the new one instead, and was actually made aware of the new book coming in before the teacher. I take it up to the classroom and show him, and he tells the rest of the class to buy this book. Okay, finally, I’m ahead and I know what’s going on.
THEN Sweden happens and obviously I didn’t study because I was too busy learning Norwegian culture firsthand… which was the point of coming here. So when I get back and I’m sick as a dog, I have to read 500 pages in three days because even though the book came in 8 days before the exam, we are still responsible for the whole text. There was so much pressure in my head I could barely think, and I had to reread a LOT of information.
Thursday, the day before the exam, I stopped reading new material and just went over the old stuff over and over and over. Giada, who sits next to me in class, was also not feeling well even though we were supposed to study together, so we spent the day facebooking each other any questions we had. I went over this MASS amount of information. I mean at least 1500 pages of information and 15 hours of horrible English lectures were crammed into 21 days (5 of which I spent in Sweden), and most of the information was outdated. Seriously, the whole class is upset.
Oh yeah and no one prepared me for Norwegian exams either. They’re 6 hours long, all essay, I had to write in pen, I had to bring my ID, and there were exam proctors that didn’t speak English. The exam was at 9.00, but I had to be there by 8.45, and since I get lost a lot (and the room for the exam kept changing) I wanted to be there at 8.00, which means the bus at 7.30, which meant waking up at 6.30 when I was still sick. You can tell I was pissed.
Anyways, I got there, found the room, had a seat, received my test, and took four hours to write eleven pages. My wrist has never hurt so much in my life, but I am done. I am done with that test and I am done with being sick, so I’m pretty happy.
Except that when I returned home from my test I found Martin lying on the couch with an infected and swollen eye. We can’t catch a break! And we have been planning a Valentine’s day date for like a week.
So anyways, if anyone was trying to find me this week I was dying and studying all at the same time. I can’t wait to rejoin humanity on Monday.
After Monday, I’ll try to catch up on the ski trip. I want to get a chance to get all those pictures first!
Haha! I got Martin to ACTUALLY smile for a picture. He’s so handsome when he smiles, too.
He put in blue contacts for the day… In hindsight, maybe that’s why he has this eye infection?
Everything Martin gave me for Valentine’s Day. It might not look like much but it’s everything I love in Norway. It’s possibly the best gift I’ve ever gotten.
Not in the mood to get in trouble for cheating, so here’s what the exam paper looks like. Just know my exam has 11 completely full pages.
And I’ll close with a photo of the Northern Lights a friend took, Bryony. We got to see them from our apartment, but I think I missed them being this strong by an hour or two!
That’s all for now… Ha det!
I have got to get better at blogging. In my defense, I’m still struggling to figure out why my tablet isn’t taking a charge.
I’d love to say I’ve done amazing things since my last post, but honestly I’m just enjoying being settled in. I spend most nights watching a movie and I go to bed pretty early, so you could say I’m pretty boring.
Martin and I started hiking on a different trail that takes you up to a mountain called Keiservarden, but I haven’t felt comfortable enough to go all the way to the top. The top part of the hike has a lot of ice and wind, which are a bad combination. I need more time getting used to the wind OR the ice before I can be okay with both while being able to see the city below me. The beginning is a nice, relaxing trail which is a great break for me.
What else have we done…..
Oh! Martin bought a lottery ticket! They cost 25 kr and it was a scratch-off. You have to get the same number three times, and you win that number. On the first ticket, we won 50 kr so we bought two more tickets, and on one of those we won 100 kr, so we bought 4 more tickets…. And then our luck ran out. It was fun though!
The rest of the week was pretty much filled with me reading my textbook for my Norwegian Society class since I have an exam in two weeks, and taking a LOT of notes. I’ve also been preparing to leave on Wednesday for a ski trip to Sweden, so I’ll definitely have plenty of adventures to share about!
The only really big story I have for right now is that Martin and I had a nice date Saturday night. We bought fresh shrimp and had shrimp and mayo and homemade bread (which is definitely my favorite Norwegian dish so far) and beer with candlelight. We took a technology break for the hour or so and just talked to each other, which is nice. Afterwards, we went to the movies for the first time. We saw Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio. In Norway, a lot of movie theatres have special candy (aka American candy), so it was nice to see some little trinkets from home. I’m not buying any, though, because a pack of Reese’s costs $5. No thanks.
Everything is pretty lax here aside from this ski trip coming up.
Grandma, I got your card in the mail. Thank you! Martin and I say happy Valentine ’s Day.
Dad, I don’t have your package, but I got two cards from Grandma… ouch.
Hope everyone else in the states is doing well!
And now, pictures!
On our way up
This is the trail… where walking is easy.
I had blue shells for the first time. I didn’t know they were alive when we purchased them!
Our winning ticket for 100 kr
I’m not sure I told this story, so I’ll do that now… We went swimming and no one told me that everyone is naked in the locker room the whole time. I spent like 30 minutes trying to figure out the locker itself (they were electronic and the instructions were in Norwegian), and then spent a good 10 trying to get OUT of the locker room and into the pool. I ended up giving up and just asking another woman (one that was dressed), and she pointed to a door with this sign on it. I was terrified. I gave up on figuring out the showers and I definitely didn’t get naked.
In other news, Martin gave me a rose like a week ago, and it’s GROWING. I don’t know what’s in the water here…
Yeah, it’s still growing.
This one and the next few are from our Sunday walk…This is a great view of all the houses that are just built on the mountains.
The sunset was beautiful.
You can tell I am so thrilled about getting my picture taken when I’m trying to take pictures.
We walked up to a path where there’s a beautiful view.
It gets windy here!
Our shrimp date.
I peeled those shrimp ALL BY MYSELF.
I ate them all by myself, too.
We had a great date night with our growing rose and dead shrimp.
That’s me ripping the head off of a shrimp.
Shout out to Martin for knowing all 50 states with no help. He got 48 in one hour, and it took 20 minutes to figure out the last two… the last one he remembered was Massachusetts… which came to him while brushing his teeth and he scared the crap out of me when he yelled out of nowhere.
Sami national day was February 6!
And to end… a panoramic view from our trip up Keiservarden.
I can’t believe I’ve already been here for a month and two weeks. That’s basically ¼ of my time here! I think I’m adjusting to the whole sun-is-only-out-for-5-hours thing, but it gets a little brighter every day. This weekend, a bunch of us internationals decided to go ice fishing. Why did I title this “ice fishing”, you may ask? Because we never broke through the ice to actually fish, that’s why. According to Martin, the ice was at least a meter thick and we had a rusty, dull drill to break through the ice, along with a knife he happened to bring to cut the fish or something. Fish we never caught, of course.
So what it actually ended up being was like ten billion hours in the freezing cold with a bunch of kids that don’t know how to walk on ice trying to play with a soccer ball that consistently caused people to fall (HARD) on their butts and caused the ball to fly into the drill. But hey, at least everyone had a good time and we had a beautiful view of the sunset (since we tried to make a hole in the ice until basically sunset).
Afterwards, a few guys noticed a Norwegian guy in a van couldn’t get up a hill. I still wonder if he felt embarrassed that a bunch of foreigners helped him get his car out. I would love to say I helped, but considering I also do not know how to walk on ice, I was aware that my presence would have been more of a hindrance.
Martin and I went on a date in there somewhere too… we went to a pizza place next to our apartment. It was super shady. I mean REALLY shady. The walls had “brick” but when I say “brick” I actually mean wallpaper that looks like brick. Yup.
Oh, and I tutor on Wednesdays. I don’t know if I said that yet, but I really enjoy it! I get to work with the other international students to improve their English skills for an hour every week. That’s for you, Gamma Sig- even in Norway I’m still doing service.
Other than that I don’t really do a lot. I really should get out more, but it’s hard with it being dark so early. I do have spikes for my shoes though, so I think we’re going to try to go hiking at night so we can really see the Northern Lights sometime.
The frozen lake… that was scary to walk on- even with spikes!
A fish frozen in the ice. Yes, it’s small, but have you seen a fish frozen on the top of a lake above the arctic circle? No? Exactly.
All of those are just playing on the ice
Trying to drill through the ice
Martin taking charge
This is the car they helped
Dream come true: I did, in fact, eat Boat-shaped ice cream and it was great.
I also tried fried fish tongue. I honest to god gave it the best shot, but I didn’t even know fish HAD tongues. Ew.
Driver’s Ed is so cute here.
The fire station
And the police cars
Us on our date.. it’s really hard to get him to look happy but not crazy.
And the sunset over the frozen lake. I have a few more pictures but I’ll save them for next time because I’m actually in class right now…
I’m starting to get a routine down here. I don’t have to take a bus schedule with me anymore and I only carry a school map in my backpack for emergencies. I can get to class without thinking, I know where to buy books, and I know how to get to and from home without stressing that I’ll miss my stop.
Except for my one idiot teacher that can’t get anything together. He’s from Bangladesh with means neither English nor Norwegian is his mother tongue. Actually, he doesn’t even speak Norwegian. That’s fine and dandy except he’s a professor at a Norwegian university, so he struggles with the technology in Norwegian.
My dilemma: the university-wide classes schedule says his class is on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12.15. His syllabus says class is on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 1.15 but won’t start until Thursday. So I email the teacher and it is sent back to me: invalid email… even though it was directly from his syllabus. I decide to go ahead and go to class on Tuesday to figure it out. 4 people show up. Since I’m already at school I decide to find his office and talk to him myself. He says that class will be on Thursday at 1.15, and then asks if I have purchased all 3 of my books. …3? The syllabus only says 2. He proceeds to show me a copied book from the bookstore that has articles I thought would be handed out in class. Apparently I’m supposed to buy that too. Well, I’m already there, so I run to the bookstore to get it. They don’t have it because the teacher never ordered it. They also don’t have the other two books because… the teacher never ordered them. Urgh.
So then I finally DO have class with him and I cannot understand anything. His accent is so thick that I am literally struggling to understand his words in my own mother tongue. He also spelled “equality” “iquality” and no one else in the class understands him. He also tried to teach us incorrect information, so that’s cool. He asked us when suicide rates were the highest in Norway. Like every other country, it’s winter. It’s cold… the sun is out less… you don’t go outside and you have less sunshine available to get so your dopamine levels decrease which means you’re grumpier to begin with. On top of that you have Christmas and other family holidays so if you already feel unloved and unwanted, a lack of dopamine and a bunch of holidays reminding you of your feelings is likely to exacerbate your problem. So… duh… winter. Well, he tries to tell us that it’s also actually summer, which doesn’t make sense. Looked it up online… actually Norway has very very low rates in the summer. So this class is going to suck because I can’t understand him and half of the information he gives us is wrong. Good thing I just need to pass.
And then he cancelled class on Friday because he forgot he’s going to Oslo for the weekend. Who forgets that they’re going to the capital until the day before?! Ugh. I spent the day with Martin going around Bodø though and it was a lot of fun. The sunrise/sunset makes everything look so beautiful here. Is gives everything this golden hue that is storybook perfect. It was a little chilly, but it was still nice and I got to see some col things along the way.
The shrimp boat. So this is super fresh shrimp, and it is amazing. Expensive… but amazing.
Thon Hotel. This is the largest hotel chain in Norway.. Martin and Thea have both worked there (just not at the Bodø one).
A kindergarten and some apartments.
These ducks got so close! There was only one duck when we were walking up, but within like 5 minutes the whole flock flew up to us. It was crazy!
Ducks at the “beach” which is frozen. Yup, that’s ice.
Same yellow apartments
The ducks followed us when we went onto the rocks
See? There they are in the water.
You can see I have to wear a lot more clothing than Martin.
A random marina.
A cute shop downtown. It’s a magazine place, I guess?
The Bodø Sentrum bus stop
Everyone needs a stereotypical telephone booth photo.
On the right is the library/city hall
And this is where I live!
So that was where we went all day. It was a very calm and relaxing day.
I have a billion more pictures still, but I need to work on homework too!
So I wasn’t really able to get many good photos of Saltstraumen for many reasons I won’t share here because it’s kinda rude. Norway friends, you know exactly why.
My good friend Anja, however, has a great camera and we made a deal that I’d give her the first season of An Idiot Abroad in exchange for the pictures she took. Her camera is way better, so this is a LOT closer to what I get to see basically every day.
Sunsets are beautiful. There’s the mountains I see on my way to school every day too.
Same mountains at sunrise… which is around 10. The sun sets around 3 now.
I really love these houses! This is on the bus route.
There’s the whirlpool
Emma and I
Ilaria and Hirono. Everyone was so cold!
Me about to try on Petra’s glasses. She has a heavy prescription!
The city of Bodø from afar.
So that’s a much better portrayal of Saltstraumen. I have a lot more pictures to go through!
I have officially been in Norway for a month. So crazy! I have had some trouble with my tablet and I was waiting for more pictures before I posted.
So this week I only had class on Monday and Wednesday. Nothing big really happens during class- we spend 45 minutes in class, take a 15 minute break, spend another 45 minutes in class, leave. Kit (my teacher or lærer) is very sweet though and I really enjoy it even though the course moves very fast.
So like I said before this week ISU planned a bunch of events. On Monday we had a “treasure hunt” which was actually a race with about 10 places to go to in the University where you had to answer a question about Norway. At the end they gave us a bunch of letters and you had to make a word. My team was the fastest so I won a free ticket to the party this weekend! Afterwards, we had free pizza and all talked for a good hour.
On Wednesday we went on an “Arctic Escape” which should have been called “Trusting foreigners with torches 101”. Basically we each got a legit torch to take with us up a hill/small mountain and we were given safety instructions in English even though a bunch of people weren’t listening. I’m honestly amazed we didn’t burn anything down. It was a little chilly but Martin gave me a bunch of his warm clothes so I was doing great. We had a bonfire with hotdogs and played some games for a bit before we headed back. We went back in smaller groups and I went with some Ukranians…. bad idea. Basically I don’t think they understood that I wanted to catch the bus at school and go home and that my apartment building was not the same as theirs. I kept asking, “Who is leading? Are they taking us to the university?” It seriously took us forever. We were almost at school when one wanted to stop at Coop. I don’t have time for that! The bus only comes once an hour. So after explaining that like 20 times they finally point me to the bus stop. The WRONG bus stop. Took me 20 minutes to get to the right stop and I missed the bus by 10 minutes. Ugh.
On Thursday we had a quiz day? We had to answer a bunch of questions and whatnot. It was strange. My story about Thursday is that I rode the bus (again) but I wasn’t aware you had to push the “stop” button for larger stops (like the University… the stop is in bold print on maps so I thought they always stopped….no) and I almost missed my stop and the bus driver yelled at me in Norwegian. I basically stood there like: ooooookay I don’t understand but okay. Not my best moment.
Saturday I went with Martin to the back to school party at Sku Bare. In Norway, there is usually a pre-party, the party, and an after-party which means partying is from like… 9PM-5AM. If you know anything about me you know I hate partying and I like being home before midnight so this is rough on me. We went to a big international pre-party which was loud and I was already tired and cold (since I tried to look nice and decided I could have bare legs in -8 C weather…oops). Around 12 or so we all decided to go to the actual party which wasn’t much better. It was VERY crowded and people were bumping into everyone like a frat party but more expensive and not in English. Martin and I had a drink and basically left. It was around 1 when we got back and he made me sushi to make me feel better. I guess I just really don’t like bars!
SUNDAY we went to Saltstraumen… the world’s most powerful water spinny whirlpool thing. It’s called a…. maelstrom. We took a bus around the city but I couldn’t really get any good pictures so I’ll have to go around again with more time. We had the opportunity to actually go down and see the maelstrom but we had to be very careful because we could DIE if we fell in the water since it’s so strong. It was SUPER cold but it was nice. We ate at the hotel and had fiskesuppe. I sat next to Anja, Petra, and Emma and we were hungryyyy. I think they expected more than just soup and bread!
Anja has an amazing camera and she promised to let me use a few so I’ll post those in a few days.
So that’s my first week of school and my conclusion to my first month in Norway! I am so glad I made it here. It is really everything I expected it to be. I couldn’t have asked for more. It may be cold, but nothing beats seeing the mountains every day just on my way to school. I miss home, but leaving here will be hard.
In the meantime, here’s a few pictures from the week! There aren’t too many because most things were kindof dark…
On the way to Saltstraumen
A beautiful sunset
Petra, Anja, and me at Saltstraumen. Cold but beautiful.
Fish soup. I thought it was pretty good!
Me and Petra
Norwegian flag at sunset
A view from the bus.
A cute cabin by Saltstraumen
Some more cute houses.
The maelstrom. You can’t really see it in a picture but it’s there!
A life vest next to the water for obvious reasons
A bunch of us!
Emma and I on the bridge
Some houses with grass on top which is traditional here. So basically: grass roofs + Norway flag + mountains + water = most Norwegian photo I have taken thus far.
That’s all for now!
Ha det bra, alle sammen!
Have it good, everyone!
So school officially started for me on Monday… complain all you want about the fact that I didn’t post yesterday but I was exhausted! Even though my class didn’t start until noon, I had to catch the 11.00 bus and I barely slept.
This week it’s actually my only class-Norwegian language. It is really nice to hear other people struggle as much as I do, and I think it will be a great way to start learning the language. After that two hour class I had a meeting with all of the native English speakers that are volunteering to be group leaders in an English support class. I am so excited to continue to volunteer while I’m here! I think my Gamma Sig sisters would be proud.
After that, the International Student Union (ISU) held a treasure hunt game. Honestly it was more of a “find this place at school and answer quiz questions” type thing but my group still won! We had Norwegian pizza for two hours or so afterwards.
Martin and I also tried out the mountain about 5 minutes from where we live. It’s small compared to the other mountains we have been on but it had plenty of challenges called ice. It’s called Rønvikfjellet and from the top you can really see the city.
Oh, I saw the Northern Lights again too! They were pretty dim but they were there. We literally walked out of our apartment and there they were.
There hasn’t been a LOT going on…I’m finally starting to settle in only a month after I left home. My keyboard is also REALLY slow so it’s hard to write a whole lot.
And of course, photos!
Universitet i Nordland
This is near the bottom of the mountain. The pond is frozen over, so kids are ice skating. They were so cute!
This is me: cold, but at the top!
A panoramic view from the top.
A view of the ADORABLE houses here. Do you guys see why I love the red ones?
Another view of the mountains I see on my way to school.
I need more clothing than Martin to not die hiking.
My favorite cheese: Norvegia!
My first meal including reindeer.
Reindeer, tyttebær, and potatoes.
Some of my friends! We took like 4 pictures but they were blurry from laughing. Anja, Ilaria, and Petra. Oh and Alex in the back
Ready for my first day!
The first snack I made. Apples, peanut butter, and sliced Norvegia (which I sliced)
My winning group for the treasure hunt
I like to end with a nice photo, so here’s a great view from the top!
And that’s all for now, but ISU has many adventures planned this week!